The 365 Commitment

The Pain Cave

The running community has its own phrases that get passed around. My favorite is “the pain cave.” This is the place you go to in your mind when you are running farther than you body or mind want you to. Mile 32 on a 50 mile run for example. That long up hill stretch on mile 20 of a marathon. When you encounter hardship like this and you have no other option, other than quitting, then you must go to the pain cave. This is that long stare at a distant object in which you try to forget the pain you are experiencing and just go comatose, while keeping up your running pace of course.

However, the pain cave is so much more. It is the secret place that only a runner knows about that you go to find out who you really are. What are you really willing to give to achieve your goals? I know this pain cave well. Now it has been a while since I have been there, and oddly enough, I miss it! No getting there sucks. It requires running farther and / or faster than you are wont to do. While you are there it also is really tough, because you are indeed in a lot of pain. However, there is something incredible about pushing through a long distance after spending a good 3 hours in the pain cave and emerging like a wild fiend with a dopamine high.

However, I have cried at that moment. I have collapsed at that moment. I have found joy at that moment and that is why I keep coming back.

Guy Reams

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